ASX rises 1% early, financial stocks soar

Shares have opened up by more than 1.0 per cent on the Australian stock market and financials have rocketed more than 3.0 per cent.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 77.1 points, or 1.3 per cent, at 6018.7 points after the first 15 minutes of trade on Thursday.

The All Ordinaries index was 75.5 points, or 1.24 per cent higher, at 6140.4.

The financial sector was 3.1 per cent higher, well ahead of the next-best sector, energy, which gained 1.24 per cent.

International and retail trade figures for April will be released on Thursday.

The federal government has announced a $688 million HomeBuilder scheme that should help companies in residential construction.

The scheme will offer grants to people who sign contracts to build or renovate their home until the end of the year.

In the US, a survey from payroll processor ADP said that private employers cut nearly 2.8 million jobs last month but that was much milder than the 9.3 million that economists told investors to expect.

One Australian dollar was buying 69.16 US cents at 1015 AEST, down from 69.37 US cents at the close on Wednesday.

Demand for iron ore is keeping the dollar hovering around its highest point since January.

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